Be Clear on Cancer

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Signs and symptoms of cancer

Be Clear on Cancer has been promoting awareness and early diagnosis by raising public awareness of signs and symptoms of cancer and encouraging people to see their GP without delay since January 2011. The programme was led by Public Health England, working in partnership with the Department of Health, NHS England and Cancer Research UK. Each campaign was tested locally and then regionally, with a view to rolling them out nationally if they prove to be effective.

The Be Clear on Cancer programme was developed in response to the Department of Health's 'Improving Outcomes - A strategy for Cancer', which set out how it will seek to achieve the ambition to prevent 5,000 deaths from cancer per year by 2014/15, bringing survival rates in England up to average for Europe.

While it depends on the cancer type, for most activities the target audience for Be Clear on Cancer is primarily men and women from lower socio-economic groups who are over the age of 50. Public awareness of key symptoms of cancer is low and research showed that for some cancers, people from lower socio-economic backgrounds or people who have lower education levels tend to delay seeing their GP (Macleod et al, 2009).

Public Health England, Department of Health and NHS England collate and analyse a number of data sets relating to each campaign. The evaluation metrics are carefully considered for each campaign. Where necessary or relevant, additional metrics are added to the evaluation plan:

  • Cancer and campaign awareness; are people seeing the campaign?
  • GP attendance; are more people going to their GP with the relevant symptoms?
  • Urgent referrals for suspected cancer; are more people being urgently referred?
  • Conversion rates; how many of those referred turn out to have cancer?
  • Impact on investigations; is there an increase in time patients wait for tests?
  • Cancer incidence and staging; is there a shift towards earlier stage disease?

BCOC Evaluation reports:

Following collection of evaluation metric data, evaluation reports are published for each of the Be Clear on Cancer campaigns.

Promoting early diagnosis of breast, bowel and lung cancers. First report. 2010/11 local projects

Evaluation of the BCOC ovarian cancer awareness campaign. 14 Jan-10 March 2013

Evaluation of the BCOC lung cancer awareness campaign regional pilot, East and West Midlands. 10 Oct-13 Nov 2011

PHE are currently responsible for preparation of evaluation reports for all Be Clear on Cancer campaigns taking place after August 2013, these are carried out by the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS) formerly known as the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN).

Be Clear on Cancer summary evaluation report 2014

Be Clear on Cancer summary evaluation report 2013